Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Walking In The City

I did an extensive walking tour of two parts of the city this afternoon. I am doing a Powerpoint presentation tomorrow for my Tech Apps class, and my topic that I am covering is all of the mid and high-rises proposed and under construction in the city. I wanted to include pictures of all the sites in the presentation, so this required that I get out and take all of them today. After my 11:00 class, I drove to the CWE to get started. I parked behind the Park East and started there. I circled around that site and headed over to the site of the Renaissance on Euclid, Lindell Condos, and then down to 4545 Lindell. After my stroll through the CWE, I headed downtown. I parked in my usual free spot in front of the Bowling Hall of Fame. I made a full circle around the stadium to get some more pics for I then headed over to the Old Post Office to the site of the Robert's Mayfair Tower and the possible site of a high-rise just up locust from there. I also wasted some battery life on the Garage Mahal. I walked for a little while on Washington, but forgot to get a pic for the site of the Gateway Condos. I negotiated the horrible set up of the elevated I-70 and went by the Switzer building and the site of Port St. Louis. I walked around the Pinnacle site and over to the Bottle District site. I then walked to the Convention Center Metro stop and rode metro over to the Stadium station. I covered everything in 2.5 hours, including spending a good chunk of that time on top of the Stadium East garage.

Today was sunny and warm, and the streets reflected the good weather. There weren't masses of people on the street, and I was not walking at lunch time, but there were people on every street in both downtown and the CWE. That was great to see as always. Most buildings were looking good, and construction work was going on in all of the rehabs. The banker's lofts looked great with almost all of the new windows in. The Federal Reserve site was being excavated well below ground. There seems to be a fair amount of tourists on the streets for this time of year, almost all of them were families. I happily watched them checking out all of the construction.

Downtown is really going to have it's act together this summer. I can't wait to experience it.

One of these days I will share the presentations, probably on UrbanStL.


*Class Post*

I found the article on Matthew Carter and his work creating typefaces very interesting. I never realized so much work went into it, especially the work to carve the letters in steel as was done in the past. I had no idea that a typical typeface requires designing 278 different characters. Even subtle differences in a letter that most would never notice can require a complete redesign of the set. A designer also has to be able to come up with a style that has never been done before. Carter has designed an amazing sixty two full families.

Certain institutions wanting their own typeface is interesting. With a type face specifically designed for your use, you can set yourself apart. The New York Times was creative in saving money by only requiring letters to spell out "The new York Times."

The part of the article I liked most was when Carter spoke about identifying forgeries by typefaces he designed. Identifying the two forgeries by a typeface being used before it was created was a method that I had never thought of. I will remember this if I ever forge a dated document.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church

St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church is now taking it's final few breaths. An article in today's Southwest City Journal states that the Board of Aldermen has passed a redevelopment bill allowing the church to be torn down. Back on December 19, this project was rejected by the City Preservation Board. The Board ruled that the church and other buildings on site were historic and should not be demolished. This was a pet project of Alderman Vollmer and the Catholic Church. The whole story can be found here.

Why do aldermen insist on aldermanic courtesy? I know it secures votes for their pet projects, but do they really not see some projects are simply bad for the city? This just makes me want work even harder to change the political culture of St. Louis. Someday people that get it will be in charge, hopefully before I am gone.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Evils of Technology: PowerPoint

*Class Post*

So is PowerPoint really evil, or is it the greatest thing ever created? I think the answer lies somewhere in between. Certain situations and presentations lead me to feel certain ways about the software. An example of a good use of Powerpoint in my eyes is when a presenter puts a few main topics on a slide as talking points, and then can fully expand on the points in the slide. This way the audience can get the general topic off the slide, but they still have to listen to the presenter to fully understand the topic.

The dark side of PowerPoint, and we've all done this, is when a presenter put's his entire speach onto the slides and essentially reads off the slides. This is boring, and shows a lack of knowledge and effort on the presenters part. If someone wanted to just read their speech, why put it on PowerPoint in the first place. Large amounts of text on a slide is also distracting and takes away from the presentation.

This following quote from Edward R. Turte in the article sums the situation up well:
PowerPoint is a competent slide manager and projector. But rather than supplementing a presentation, it has become a substitute for it. Such misuse ignores the most important rule of speaking: Respect your audience
In other words, PowerPoint is a good tool, but no one knows how to use it properly. That is the true evil in this case.